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The Path of Daggers Chapter 1


Deceptive AppearancesEdit

Wheel of Time

SynopsisEdit

EthenielleEdit

Queen Ethenielle of Kandor rides through the Black Hills with an escort of soldiers and her advisors, Serailla and Lord Baldhere, wondering if she is making the right decision. They arrive at the designated meeting point, a valley where a slender golden spire from the Age of Legends protrudes from the hillside at an angle. The Queen and her two advisors enter the valley, their escort remaining outside.

In the valley wait Paitar Nachiman, King of Arafel, and Easar Togita, King of Shienar, with their respective attendants. Queen Ethenielle hopes that the bonds of family between their houses, strengthened by intermarriages, will hold their alliance together. The kings greet her courteously, and Ethenielle merely responds by asking if they've avoided detection. King Easar grumbles that if they have, they might as well turn back now.

One of King Paitar's advisors questions their dedication if they already talk of turning back, but King Easar's shatayan says that they are risking much, and they must be careful, even though the White Tower is divided and the Blight extremely quiet. Queen Ethenielle says that she has left behind sufficient forces to guard the Blight from anything short of the Trolloc Wars.

Queen Tenobia of Saldaea arrives, having heard the talk of turning back, and won't hear of it. She is determined to confront Davram Bashere and Rand al'Thor about Bashere apparently becoming a follower of the Dragon Reborn instead of killing Mazrim Taim. While the others reassure Tenobia that they are not turning back, Ethenielle half-wishes that the Saldaean queen had chosen not to join them. Her temper is legendary, her conditions for a potential suitor unrealistic, and Davram Bashere her heir if she died unmarried.

Ethenielle hears the other monarchs talking of Aes Sedai. All of their advisors except Paitar's have disappeared since the troubles in the White Tower. Paitar has brought his advisor, Coladara, with his armies, and he says that she has seven sisters accompanying her. Tenobia says that she has brought five herself, who seem to have arrived in Saldaea purely by chance. All thirteen sisters seem to approve of the venture, but Ethenielle still worries about the secret getting out. King Easar notes that thirteen Aes Sedai may be a good number to have with them. Tenobia invites them to come speak to her Aes Sedai, and suggests they do the same with those accompanying Paitar.

Tenobia also suggests that Ethenielle might want to sit with her uncle Kalyan Ramsin, and Ethenielle realizes that she is matchmaking. She is initially outraged, but then remembers doing much the same for her own widowed relatives at the same age. She insists that they got on with the business they came for. The four monarchs cut their palms and mingle their blood, pledging to be one, to the death. Now they need to find Rand al'Thor and do what needs to be done.

VerinEdit

Verin leaves the shielded White sister Turanna shivering in her tent and goes outside to look at the Aiel encampment around her, near the city of Cairhien. She watched a black-robed captive Aes Sedai being forced to work by Wise Ones, and remembers others she's seen being worked over the last few days. She wonders why the Wise Ones are doing it, and if she will soon be treated the same way.

She sends one of the Aielmen outside her tent to Colinda for Katerine Alruddin, wanting to deal with sisters who have no Warders first. She is about to go back inside the tent when she sees, among a group of women grinding grain nearby, the stilled Irgain Fatamed, dressed just like the other Aiel. The sight disturbs her, and she wonders if the Wise Ones put the woman there on purpose.

Back in the tent, she comforts Turanna until a pair of Wise Ones arrive to take her away. They link and take up the shield on Turanna as she is carried away by a pair of young Aielmen. Verin takes a drink and takes out her notebook, considering Cadsuane's recent arrival.

Aeron, another Wise One, enters the tent, and Verin scrambles to her feet. Aeron picks up Verin's notebook and thumbs through it, commenting that it doesn't have any answers to the questions Verin as supposed to ask. It is in code, like many others of Verin's notebooks in the White Tower. She says that the prisoners all said variations of the same thing, that the Car'a'carn was to be kept in the White Tower until the Last Battle. Aeron scrutinizes her; she had earlier told Verin that she would be treated just like the prisoners with the slightest hint of suspicion.

Another Wise One comes in with two Maidens, bringing a shielded Aes Sedai with her--not Katerine as Verin had requested, but Beldeine instead. Verin asks why they brought a different sister, and is told that Katerine has escaped. Verin loses her temper and asks angrily how this could have happened, and whether Rand is in danger. One of the Maidens tells her that a Wise One and two Aiel were poisoned, before being silenced by Aeron. Aeron then grudgingly acknowledge's Verin's concern for the Car'a'carn, before admonishing her for a tone not befitting an apprentice. Verin immediately apologizes, and Aeron asks her not to tell Rand about the escape.

Verin asks for permission to assume Beldeine's shield, and does so when it is granted. Aeron and the other Aiel leave. Verin offers Healing to Beldeine, but she angrily refuses, calling Verin a traitor to the White Tower and the Wise Ones wilders and savages. Verin merely asks about her punishment, and Beldeine talks about how the Aiel are trying to break her. Verin tells Beldeine that the Aiel have declared her da'tsang, which accounts for their destroying all her possessions, and they might not even let her swear fealty to Rand if she wanted to. She faces nothing more than a lifetime of useless labour.

Verin finally convinces Beldeine to let her try Healing. After doing so, she takes hold of her angreal and begins another weave, mostly Spirit. Beldeine reacts with surprise, but is helpless to resist. Verin takes advantage of her susceptibility to ask her more questions, but Beldeine says that she knows of no support for Rand inside the White Tower, that they were merely instructed to capture him. Verin reflects that a ta'veren inside the White Tower would have been a disaster. She also thinks that if any other Aes Sedai were to see her weave, she would likely be stilled. She is trying a form of Compulsion assembled over the years from the half-formed weaves of wilders.

Verin finishes the weaves and embeds the suggestions into her mind before closing off the weave entirely. Beldeine's eyes roll back and she convulses for a few minutes, before coming back to herself with no memory of what has just happened. Verin herself is very weary, having done this four times that day already. She tells the Aielmen outside that she is finished with Beldeine, and asks if she may see Irgain Fatamed next. Despite her fatigue, she is determined to keep Rand alive until it is time for him to die.

MoridinEdit

Moridin sits alone in a deserted palace, two mindtraps around his neck, contemplating a sha'rah board. A servant brings him a goblet of wine. He contemplates the Fisher on the board, and then, seized with sudden fury, grabs the Fisher with the True Power, crushing the goblet in his hand and almost the mindtraps as well. He thinks about the knowledge about the Fisher, and sha'rah, that is lost with the turnings of the Ages. Slowly his rage subsides and he sets the piece back down on the table, wondering if the Fisher comes from a vestigial memory of Rand al'Thor. He laughs, as Rand already moves to his direction.

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